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Riku is being treated for brain cancer

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st. jude patient riku smiling

Riku and his family moved from Japan to California when he was 3 years old and spoke only Japanese.

We would go to the park, and he would talk to everybody in Japanese. And nobody would understand. It was a drastic change for him.

Riku’s mom, Noriko

riku and his mom, Noriko

Riku and his mom, Noriko

The following year, Riku’s life changed again, with a diagnosis of childhood cancer.

A scan revealed a mass on his brain, and Riku underwent a ten-hour surgery to remove the tumor for a type of brain cancer called medulloblastoma.

Riku’s doctors then referred him to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.


Families, like Riku's, never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.

Riku with his family in 2018.

Riku with his family in 2018


Even after his lengthy surgery, Riku still needed additional treatment to survive, like proton therapy.

  1. St. Jude is home to the world’s first proton beam therapy center dedicated solely to children.

    riku with his mom in a hospital bed

    We really wanted proton therapy. The proton beam could just hit the tumor and protect other tissue around the tumor.

    Riku's mom, Noriko

    riku with his mom holding flower

    As Riku’s treatment got underway, his parents Noriko and Jun quickly learned more about St. Jude.

    They found they were included as important members of Riku’s care team.

    riku and his dad

    “They worry about the smallest concern I have,” said Noriko. “They won't just brush it away. They listen to me, and I feel very secure.”

    riku and his dad

    I have never seen such a great hospital. We know we can rely on St. Jude and the staff one hundred percent.

    Riku's dad, Jun

    Riku responded well to treatment and has returned home.


Your donation helps give kids like Riku the chance to grow up.

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